The Mexican Supreme court ruled Wednesday that individuals should have the right to grow and distribute marijuana for their personal use.
The ruling is a first step in reforming Mexico’s strict drug laws and expands the growing debate about the war on drugs in Latin America, according to the New York Times.
Mexico is seeking new answers after constant fighting with drug traffickers has not stopped the flow of drugs into the United States. The court’s decision applies only to the cannabis club that brought the suit and does not strike down existing laws, but has done much to spark debate on Latin America’s conservative drug laws and opens the door for other similar cases to challenge Mexico’s laws.
Other countries have already moved towards reform, with Uruguay legalizing marijuana in 2013 and Brazil has recently undergone its own decriminalization debates.
Marijuana, however, is only a fraction of a many cartels’ income. Revenue streams can vary from drug smuggling to extortion, but gangs will continue to fight for their stake in the marijuana business, the Times reports.
The court’s opinion did little to refer to the bloody war on drugs, instead arguing that Mexico recognizes an individual’s freedom to participate in activities that do not harm others.
Armando Santacruz, a plantiff in the case, argues that the harm comes in the violence caused by the war with cartels.
“Bad regulation is better than whatever regulation El Chapo and the narcos can provide,”Santacruz said.